Shaft CounterShaft: The Fink System.

Updated: 8 Oct 2003
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The Fink semi-articulation system was one of the earliest methods devised for applying power to a swivelling section of a locomotive. Not, unfortunately, one of the more successful ones.

Left: The Gerliste

This is the only photograph I have been able to trace of a Fink System locomotive, No 502 "Gerliste".

Apologies for poor picture quality.

The boiler was carried by three forward axles fixed to it, driven conventionally by two cylinders at the front. The firebox rested on a roller on the "pseudo-tender" which held the two rearmost axles, swivelling with respect to the front section.

Above; Side elevation and plan of No 500 "Steierdorf". The articulation joint is shown by the red arrow.

The Fink system was based on driving the two swivelling rear axles from a countershaft (shown in orange in the diagram) which was driven from the main driving wheels by a connecting rod (pale blue).

This countershaft remained parallel to the front axles, but was moved back and forwards by the green struts attached to the rearmost of the front three axles; the crank on this axle is shown in dark blue. I regret that this description is a bit vague, but I am relying on a single brief textual description of the mechanism.
The first of the rear axles was driven from the countershaft by what I cannot resist calling the Fink Link, (in pink) and in turn drove the fifth axle, via a conventional connecting rod. (also pink)

The European description of the wheel arrangement is CB'n2

The first locomotive was No 500 "Steierdorf"; also built were No 501 "Krahsova", (or "Krassova") and No 502 "Gerliste", pictured above.

Unfortunately there was a major problem; the Fink linkage was not kinematically correct- in other words the geometry of the mechanism did not properly compensate for the angular movement on curves. Fink is quoted as claiming that the error was only 1 millimetre, but coping with this required the stregthening of various parts. This philosophy is hard to understand, as such beefing-up would not have corrected the kinematics and so presumably the stress and bending was transferred to some other part of the assembly. This does not sound like good engineering and the Fink locomotives... "did not give satisfaction" according to Wiener. I am not surprised.

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